Six-time Emmy-winner Phil Roman, who in February departed Film Roman, the animation company he founded in 1984 [AF 02/16/99], has announced the formation of his new company, privately owned Phil Roman Entertainment in Studio City, California. Roman is president and chief executive officer of the full service animation firm. The new company will create, develop and produce traditional and computer animation for TV, features, commercials and promotions. The Roman company is expected to announce a number of projects soon.
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Visual effects and animation studio Rhythm & Hues has purchased the VIFX portion of Marina del Rey based-effects house Blue Sky/VIFX from 20 Century Fox for approximately $5 million. Under the Rhythm & Hues banner, the combined companies will be the largest privately owned visual f/x house in Los Angeles. The core management team at VIFX will remain intact although layoffs are expected for some of VIFX's 100+ employees because of an overlap of job functions once the merger is completed.
Career Boot Camp, presented by the L.A. Chapter's of SIGGRAPH and Women in Animation, is a one-day intensive computer animation-geared event taking place Sunday, March 7 from 9-5 p.m. at the Universal Hilton in Universal City, California. The program is designed to inform people interested in breaking into the computer animation and visual effects industries. Attendees will hear from industry professionals from such companies as Industrial Light & Magic, the Walt Disney Company, Pacific Data Images (PDI), Tippett Studios, Area 51 and numerous others.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the nominations for its 51st British Academy Film Awards. Nominees for The Best Short Animated Film are:
1001 NIGHTS, Yukio Sonoyama/Mike Smith.
THE CANTERBURY TALES, Aida Zyablikova/Renat Zinnurov/Ashley Potter/Dave Antrobus/Claire Jennings/ Mic Graves/Joanna Quinn/Les Mills.
GOGWANA, Helen Nabarro/Deiniol Morris/Sion Jones/Michael Mort/Joe Turner.
HUMDRUM, Carla Shelley/Julie Lockhart/Peter Peake.
The Visual Effects Society (VES) is presenting the first "VES '99: A Festival of Visual Effects" which will take place June 4-6 at the Leonard Goldenson Theater of the Television Academy. The event is designed to provide an annual platform for sharing creativity and common interests in the production of visual effects for the entertainment industry. The three-day program includes a series of seminars presented by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Jim Henson's Creature Workshop and Sony Pictures Imageworks among others.
The Game Show Network has signed a deal with Interactive Television Entertainment (ITE-USA) to start airing the live, real-time animated action game THROUT AND NECK in the U.S. Using technologies developed by ITE-USA, home viewers are able to control the movement of the animated characters using their telephone keypads to input commands. In the game, Throut and Neck are two unruly beasts who somehow wind up in SheepHeaven, a mind-numbing world of annoyingly cute and adorable sheep. The players at home control their monsters to see which one can defeat the most sheep and return home.
Link Entertainment's PRESTON PIG has been commissioned by Childrens ITV. Twenty-six seven minute episodes of this children's series will be produced by Varga tvc to air in September 2000. The show, based on Colin McNaughton's popular books, follows the countless inept attempts by Mr. Wolf to catch and eat the carefree Preston Pig. "We believe that this series is set to be a classic, following in the grand tradition of such double acts as Tom and Jerry, and Sylvester and Tweety," commented Genevieve Dexter, Head of Sales & Acquisitions, Link Entertainment.
The 7th annual ASIFA Central Midwest Animator's Conference & Retreat takes place from April 30 through May 2 in the heart of Starved Rock State Park (Utica, Illinois). The event brings together an informal group of attendees to hear featured speakers, view animation and discuss various aspects of the animation business. Also included on the agenda is a Bar-B-Que, nature hikes and a chance to swim in an indoor pool or relax in a hot tub. The Retreat also features "The Helen Victoria Haynes World Peace Storyboard & Animation Scholarship Competition" designed to encourage student animators.
* Wednesday, March 10. San Jose, California USA.
"Filmmakers and Animators Evening at the Tech," a Bay Area industrygathering designed to help local members of the large format film industryand animation community, takes place at The Tech Museum of Innovationstarting at 7:00 p.m. The evening includes a reception and a screening oflarge format animated shorts including Mark Osborne's MORE, Jules Engel'sAVIARY, Don MacBain's FIRE and Barbel Neubauer's SKY; followed by a
* Monday, March 8. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
The Association of Northern Animators (ANA) will host a celebration ofwomen's animation on March 8 (International Women's Day) at the TelegraphHotel. The evening will include screenings and discussion of women's filmsproduced in the region. Female animators from the Northeast UK regioninclude Candy Guard (POND LIFE) and Sarah Kennedy (CRAPSTON VILLAS). Forfurther details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Yvonne Scott at(0191) 265 4932.
Foxs new animated series, THE PJS, has been picked up for a second season. Twenty-two additional episodes of the Imagine/Touchstone/Will Vinton Studios series will start airing in fall 99. Season-to-date, The PJs is averaging a 6.4 rating and 10 household share, which is a 12% jump from its King of the Hill lead-in and a 45% increase over the timeslot average last season.
In a precedent-setting deal, Chinese national broadcaster CCTV signed anagreement with Warner Bros. Intl. TV to start airing a 15-minute block ofLooney Tunes starting this summer. The program, which will run 7 days aweek, consists of two animated shorts a day. This marks the first timeLooney Tunes will be nationally broadcast as a regularly scheduled programin China; and signals a significant development in bringing U.S. TVprogramming to China, where it is virtually nonexistent on CCTV, thecountry's main broadcaster.
Nickelodeon has announced a new endeavor tentatively titled "ProjectNozzle." This initiative will transform the Nick.com website from itscurrent TV-centric position into a full, free online service for kids.Project Nozzle, which will compete with Walt Disney's Disney Blast andDisney Channel's Zoog Disney services on the Disney.com site, will havesuch features as guided Web tours, auditoriums, bulletin boards, moderatedchats and e-mail, along with kid content from a wide range of content
Fox Kids will start airing WOODY WOODPECKER on May 8. The series, produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, features new adventures of Woody, Wally Walrus and Chilly Willy. It was originally scheduled to air during the fall '98 season. The show's supervising director and producer is animation veteran Bob Jaques.
* Thursday, February 25 - Wednesday, March 3. San Jose, California, USA.
The week-long Cinequest San Jose Film Festival IX takes place with numerous screenings and special events. Among the events are PDI Presents: The Making of Antz and a screening dedicated to recent animated shorts. For additional information visit www.cinequest.org or call (408) 295-3378 for tickets.
Burbank, California-based Rich Animation's upcoming animated feature THE KING AND I, slated for release March 19, utilized a unique production process by transferring animation scenes via the Internet between artists located in California, Europe, China, India, Korea and Canada. By avoiding the massive overhead costs associated with typical feature animation studios, Rich was able to compete with the big boys by delivering a theatrical quality feature on a budget.
The duos more wholesome festival, SPIKE & MIKES 1999 CLASSIC FESTIVAL OF ANIMATION, opens Friday, March 12 at the Ridge Theatre in Vancouver, B.C. (running through April 4).
Manga Entertainment has informed Animation World Magazine that they still have a shorts department and are actively looking for animated short films to market and distribute. Since their San Diego animated shorts operation closed down last year, submissions are now being accepted through their central Chicago division. While it is still unclear as to how the shorts will be packaged, films may be sent to:
Attn: Animated Shorts Division
727 N. Hudson #100
Chicago, IL 60610
Fox Kids Network is adding seven new animated series (146 new episodes) and nine returning series (121 new episodes) to its fall '99 slate of weekday afternoon and Saturday morning programming.
Major U.S. networks have been bitten by an animation bug and have recently announced a slew of primetime animated series. ABC has worked out a deal with Miramax and Touchstone TV for six episodes of CLERKS, based on director Kevin Smiths 1994 indie film of the same name. Slated for a midseason or fall 2000 launch, the show will be executive-produced by Smith and former SEINFELD supervising producer, Dave Mandel. Like the film, the TV series, only the second ever produced by Miramax, focuses on two young slackers who keep minimum-wage jobs in New Jersey.
* Tuesday, March 2. Glendale, California, USA.
Meet the Authors is a book signing and informal discussion with famed animation authors Charles Solomon (The Disney That Never Was, The Prince of Egypt: A New Vision in Animation) Jerry Beck (Warner Bros. Animation Art, I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat), Michael Mallory (Hanna-Barbera Cartoons) and Harvey Deneroff (The Art of Anastasia). The event which starts at 7:00 p.m. at Borders Books and Music in Glendale is free to the public. For additional details call (818) 241-8099.
John McGrew, a layout artist for Chuck Jones Warner Bros. unit from 1938 to 1943, passed away on January 11, 1999 in France at the age of 88. McGrews contributions to the artform are often overlooked because of the short time he spent in the business, but his layouts and color stylings for THE DOVER BOYS, THE ARISTO-CAT, CONRAD THE SAILOR and SUPER RABBIT, among others films, were groundbreaking and revolutionary for their time. Chuck Jones has often said in interviews that McGrew helped introduce a more abstract and design-influenced background style.
McFarlane Toys, SPAWN creator Todd McFarlanes toy company, has created a set of YELLOW SUBMARINE action figures based on the animated cult classic Beatles film. The toys bring back John, Paul, Ringo and George in all their glory along with the Blue Meanie, and will be available later this year when the film is finally re-released.